Concrete Jungle

Despite our bumpy start to Latvia we soon found our rhythm of bouncing down the roads, through villages that have seen better days and lazing on dog friendly beaches.

A typical beach we found in Latvia

We made a stop in Roja; one of the more popular towns on the coast, to check the tyre pressures. We’d being nursing a slow puncture for some time and due to the current road conditions; felt it was time to check it over.

When checking the problem tyre I could hear an air leak and found the source; either the puncture had worsened or we’d got another?

Luckily, there was a garage attached to the petrol station, and after a short wait the young lad fixed two punctures on the same tyre for just €5. The larger puncture I could hear was new and by chance we spotted it early!

The Van undergoing his tyre repairs

Just beyond Roja we found another dog friendly beach with a car park to spend the night. Despite Hannah being stung by a wasp (the pain was easily remedied with lager, crisps and cheese!), we found the beaches in Latvia to be relatively bug free.

After several days at various beach locations, some nights alone, some shared with other campers and some we avoided due to scary warnings of ticks.

Warning received loud and clear!

Through another summer storm, which caused fires at the foot of telegraph poles and trees almost falling across the road, we drove on to Karosta, a neighbourhood of the port city of Liepaja.

Constructed as a naval base for the Russian Empire and also used as a base for the Soviets, it once housed approximetly 20,000 people, but since the Russian Army left in the 90s the area fell into rapid decline.

Driving through the old barracks, some occupied, some derelict and the Karosta prison, which is now a popular tourist attraction where one can spend the night, we stopped briefly at the incrediably ornate Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Flanked by decreped Soviet blockhouses we forgot we were in Europe, more so when a Russian speaking gentleman tried to sell us some sort of old Soviet book for €3, apprently worth £300 in the UK! We might regret declining his offer!

A nice understated church!
At least the gable-end has been painted!

Spending the night by the coast we visited the old Tsarist naval bunkers, now ravaged by nature as the Baltic sea slowly erodes away the masses of concrete, much like the nearby blockhouses.

Old bunker or blockhouses?

Against the strong wind and crashing waves, we walked along the mile long sea break until the concrete started to resemble some of the roads, unsurprisingly until recently you could drive along it!

A Latvian B-road

Before leaving Latvia we spent a few more nights on the beaches, enjoying fabulous sunsets. Despite the bumpy roads and the old concrete blockhouses the country has many charms and is certainly worth a visit.

Stanley enjoying the sunset

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